Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shiriri Saga #33 Into The Hands Of Rosy Fingered Dawn.

Las Hadas/ Manzanillo The Departure.
Moonlighter Jim ( not to be confused with Wylie Jim) and I persuade a taxi driver to take us to the Bara ice plant where we load up a large amount of ice, pay the man extra when he sees the heavy wet ice and somehow slide it through the Sands hotel and into our dinghys. We roar our cargo off up the channel to the lagoon and into our boat`s cooler chests. This is our refrigeration for our Pacific voyage to the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia and is the best indication yet that we are offshore bound!

Beside Jim and Lindy on Moonlighter, there are several other boats in the lagoon preparing to leave. A separation has developed between those who are preparing for the big crossing and those who sensibly stay on this lovely coast. Those who are for the jump are comparing notes and signing up for the HF radio net that will keep all the fleet in contact during the three thousand mile crossing. By the time we arrive in Polynesia, the cyclone season should have just ended and give us as long a time as possible to transit the south seas before the next cyclone season chases us on to temperate seas in New Zealand or Australia or to safe harbours close to the equator where “hurricanes hardly happen.”

We day sail down the coast, drop anchor off the Las Hadas resort and take a bus to a shopping mall to stock up on a hundred and one things that we could not easily obtain in the little towns of Malaque and Bara; although Heather did manage to buy a lot of beef there and can it, and one shopkeeper ordered us a large sack of Canadian rolled oats. (With the makings for porridge, we can survive anything!) Now we buy large quantities of flour, powdered milk and other basic bulk food items and pour everything into large plastic five gallon buckets and seal the lids. We label each bucket and store it away while at the same time, making a map to show it`s location. So much of this adventuring involves painstaking planning and preparation. We are stocking up (victualing) for much longer than this one crossing because we know that food will be more expensive and less readily available all through Polynesia. Back home, an adventure is often associated with neglecting to plan for an outing, but here, planning for eventualities allows us to even the odds a little as we step away from civilization`s safety net.

Refuelling for Shiriri is, as usual, most easily done by fuel jugs ferried back and forth in Edith, rather than risk Shiriri in tight quarters at a fuel dock amid rocky breakwaters and Pacific swells: and then we go back and top up our water tanks as well ( different jugs).

Anne and I take the bus around the bay to Manzanillo and visit the Port Captain for our clearance from Mexico. We are nervous of extra fees now we have spent almost every Peso but it is our lucky day and we are asked to sample some Mexican Coffee and give our expert Norte Americano evaluation.... “Great!!”, we say, and leave with a very nice final memory of official Mexico. As we step out on to the street we meet a local fisherman who has overheard that we are in search of fishing equipment, so he walks with us and helps us buy the right stuff: forty pound test nylon for hand lines and three-prong hooks. “Just wrap silver cookie wrapper around the hook, let it out, and check once in a while.” It will work very well, with a bungie cord to absorb the first strike, and not involve rods and reels to clutter up the boat. We will be fishing for food, not sport.

March 16, 8AM. We place ourselves in the rosy fingered hands of the dawn and sail out into the infinite reaches of the Pacific Ocean. We will not see land again for a month, neither will we see any ships or planes on the lonely ocean trails we will follow to the Marquesas Islands.

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